The slimming perks of au naturale food.
Our kitchen cabinets are full of it. Grocery store shelves are overflowing with it. We eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They’re yummy. They’re easy. And they’re economical.
But could processed foods be at the root of the obesity epidemic, and if you don’t use processed foods, what is the alternative?
Keep reading to process the information you need to find out why an unprocessed food diet may be your answer to weight loss.
What are Processed Foods?
Years ago, there was no such thing as processed food. People ate food in its natural state, whether fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, or grains. As nations became industrialized, foods began to be altered from their original state by canning, packaging, dehydration, refrigeration, freezing, or pasteurization. Salts, sugars, oils, additives, and preservatives were added to the food to extend shelf life, improve taste, as well as for safety and convenience reasons. Unfortunately, through this process nutritional value is often lost and unhealthy additives are introduced.
Keep in mind that not all processed food is bad for you. Think of milk. The process of pasteurization kills harmful bacteria. (Unfortunately for some, this pasteurization causes milk to be an allergen and not a healthy drink.) Frozen fish, fruits, and vegetables; whole grain breads; juices; and packaged oatmeal are all examples of perfectly healthy processed foods.
At the same time, there are many processed foods you should avoid or eat sparingly. Even though their packaging may claim the food is low-fat, have no trans fat, or be low in carbs, it doesn’t make the food healthy. Processed foods that hurt your diet include canned foods, foods with refined white flour, high-calorie snack foods, frozen dinners, sugary cereals, packaged cookies, and processed meats. Any and all processed foods made with saturated fats, trans fats, or high amounts of sugar and sodium should be avoided at all costs…even when the taste is tantalizing.
Weight Gain–Processed Food Connection
What is it about processed foods that make you gain weight? First of all, most processed foods are low in fiber. Fiber-rich foods such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains keep you feeling fuller longer. When you aren’t as hungry, you eat fewer calories, and are therefore on your way to losing or maintaining your weight without even trying.
Second, many processed foods contain refined grains, sugars, and starches. These refined carbohydrates raise your blood sugar. When this happens, more insulin is produced. When these carbs aren’t quickly burned, the body stores them as fat.
Third, processed foods tend to be high in calories. Since excess calories lead to excess pounds, you have to be extra careful to watch your caloric intake when consuming processed foods. Also, take note of the serving size listed on processed food. You may think you’re eating one serving, but you can easily wind up eating two.
Keep in mind that many of the calories in processed foods are empty calories. This is the case for foods made with refined white flour. These foods contain less nutrition and won’t satisfy your hunger as efficiently as their whole-grain alternatives.
Processed foods made with trans fats or saturated fats will easily pack on the fat. Every time you eat a donut, picture it on your thigh, because that’s where it’s headed!
The Weight Loss Alternative
A diet of fewer processed foods will help you maintain a healthy weight, give you more energy, and prevent chronic health conditions. Aim to eat more fresh and whole foods in their natural state. This includes fresh or frozen fruits and veggies and whole grains. You’ll eat more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all while consuming fewer calories, less sodium, and less fat.
Tired of counting calories? Good! A diet focused on whole foods rather than on counting calories, avoiding carbs, or watching fat grams is certainly less complicated. Knowing what you’re eating, knowing where your food came from, and knowing each ingredient is important, don’t you think? It makes sense. And keeps your weight right where you want it.
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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